7 Personal Truths I Learned Through Preaching

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I’m a “learner,” at least according to Strengths Finder.  I enjoy learning new things, exploring new ideas, and trying to understand different systems.  But sometimes I “learn” about myself.  And that seems to happen each time I preach.

Last time I preached, I learned a lot about myself. See what I mean HERE.

I had the opportunity of preaching again at my church, Grace Community Church, yesterday.

7 Personal Truths I learned Through Preaching

1. I’m hard on myself.

Always. In fact, I’m probably much harder on myself after I preach than others are. I know the spots where I swung and missed, the spots where I didn’t connect, and what I should’ve said differently. And I’m good at beating myself up.

2. I’m vulnerable right after the message.

I’m all about “constructive criticism,” but I need some time. Give me a few hours…24, if you’re feeling extra generous.

3. Rehearsing through the whole sermon a few times helps me a ton.

I’ve started doing this, practicing through the whole sermon a few times, from start to finish, adding in key phrases, transitions, and striking things that are out of place. When I’m piecing things together throughout the week, I find I inevitably leave out key pieces of the puzzle.

4. I carry a lot of the emotional weight of the room.

I shared a heavy message yesterday, and I could definitely feel the weight of emotion in the room as I preached. This thought encourages me to pray for my pastor more…even while he’s preaching.

5. Preaching drains me.

I said this last time, but I’ll say it again. After I’m done preaching, I feel like I’ve worked a full day.

6. “Great message!” doesn’t do much for me.

It doesn’t feel all that encouraging. I’d much rather hear something like, “That’s what I needed to hear.” Even if it comes through an email.

7. Preaching is a lot of work.

The prep that goes into each message takes lots of time. The guys that do this every week are studs. Props to Ron Edmondson and Chad Rowland, my pastors!

8. Preaching connects me with God unlike anything else.

My mind is more active, my spirit more tuned in, and my heart is more primed.  Preaching, for me, is the culmination of a lot of intense preparation.  And I feel tightly connected with God through it.

Question: Do any of these resonate with you?



Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/RonEdmondson Ron Edmondson

    These are good Ben…all of it…seriously…but especially the props part! :) 

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Ha!  You and Chad rock!

  • Zach Powell

    Agreed with all of your points. Specifically the criticism pieces. I love constructive information that helps me become a better speaker–but please don’t tell me everything I did wrong as you’re walking out the door! 

    Good stuff, Ben.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed


  • http://www.mountainpark.org Juno


  • Bobpaulson

    Hmmm…interesting…but I need to explain how it made me feel as I’m compelled as a attendee to this church to go on the search for a different church that is more me.Judge not that you not be judged…while I get the point that you were attempting to be the anti-judgement guy…in doing so…you hit the other side of the pendelum and it was as if you were using scripture to justify current human nature rather that to direct the congretation to become less judgemental. Attire/lack there of and how it pertained to Jesus being somewhat adversarial with sterotypical norms appeared to be the focus last week, however I desire to be aspired to avoid sin, attire I care not… but desire to serve with reverence and respect.I wouldn’t show up on a date dressed like many are for the service out of simple respect for the gal I’m to meet…my jury is out on convicting me of being judgmental…I desire to pass no judgment based on attire, however I was offended that the congregations time was passed on such an angle when there was the opportunity to relate true hardships of life to the struggles and references of scripture. When a person attends a wedding or a funeral, typically they dress in there “Sunday Best”. I believe this to be out of respect for the dead or family/host of the ceremony and reverence for the unity or hereafter respectively. Not because there trying to one up the guy in the pew in front of them. I found it very odd that downplaying what I view as respect and reverence manifested itself in a sermon.It was also pointed out that we want this to be is easy. Being a Christian isn’t easy…to those given much, much is required. The pastors premise that this should be easy is off the mark…being human and desiring to walk in the path laid out before us is extremely hard with temptation of sin around almost every corner, on every billboard, magazine ad, TV, Movie…pretty much everything that is focused on making a greedy dollars…all expressing to be relatively easy. Times are hard…and I believe given the trials, tribulations, and hardships encountered in scriptures provide ample parallels with out us trying to falsely convince the congregation that any part of this life will ever be comfortable or easy if we strive to walk in the life the bible leads us to walk. I’m unlikely to go back to Grace. This is the 3rd time in the past month I’ve felt frustrated by the sermon and had to make it a positive by becoming further and more strongly entrenched in my own personal belief than what was passed on to the congreation. This past week the Outreach being pushed and requests of the congregation were to sign up to assist with parking and coffee for the service. An insert in the bulletin allowed for those to attend to simply check the box. No mention of supporting ongoing community outreach or discipleship opportunities like a habitat for humanity group or meals on wheels request. These may not have fit in to this churches “easy” to be religious model.The music is incredibly entertaining and I pray for the souls of those contributing that its truely for the praise of God and not their own reward and the congregations satisfaction and entertainment. The accountability of a good friend being at this service and the sermons are what got me there in the first place however I’m no longer getting what I personally need from the sermons and feel compelled to begin the search again. I hope that the pastors read this and are invigorated to challange in lieu of caudle the congreation and allow the word of the Lord and struggles of Jesus’ example in time to the parallel that of the audiences own current tribulations so that they may learn to walk in reverence and trust in the Creator. I am thankful that through the accountability and fellowship of attending with my friend that over the past 3-4 months and unfortunate personal frustration with the recent services that it has re-inspired me to re-begin the search for a service where I desire to serve and not simply attend.

  • http://jeremysarber.com Jeremy Sarber

    I’m right there with you. As a church pastor, I identify with every point you made.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks, Jeremy!  How long have you been pastoring?

      • http://jeremysarber.com Jeremy Sarber

        About four years now.

  • Lisa

    Very true!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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